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How Do You Fix Rusty Tap Water 

12 December

Rusty Water Tap

Every homeowner or renter has likely experienced a moment of unpleasant surprise when they turn on their tap, expecting nothing but the usual clear, clean water, only to find a stream of disconcerting
brown tap water flowing outThis issue of rusty tap water is more common than you might think and is often the result of ageing infrastructure. Specifically, the culprits behind this issue are often deteriorating residential pipes or a rusting water heater tank. The sight of rust-coloured water can be alarming, and it’s a problem that demands immediate attention. 

So, how do you navigate this murky issue? How do you fix rusty tap water? And how can you ensure that your water supply stays clear and safe in the future? If these questions have started to loom in your mind, you’re in the right place. Let’s find out!

What Causes Rusty Tap Water?

To understand the root causes of rusty tap water, we must venture beneath the surface and into the heart of your home’s water supply system. The water supply—often running seamlessly and unnoticed—can become compromised when rust particles infiltrate it. This can happen when the interior of your water heater tank or water pipes begins to corrode, an occurrence that is not as uncommon as you might think.

Dirty Rusty Water In Bathtub


This corrosion is particularly common in old iron or steel pipes, which were used extensively in the past. Like a slowly ticking clock, these pipes corrode over time, and eventually, rust appears. This rust then mixes with the water flowing through the pipes, leading to the disconcerting sight of rusty brown water emerging from your taps.

However, an essential fact to note is that this problem is wider than raging galvanised pipes. Even homes with modern plastic pipes are not immune. If these plastic pipes are connected to a corroding metal water tank or heater, they can still carry rusty water into your home. 

Is Rusty Water Harmful?

Rusty water in your home can raise immediate concerns about safety and potential health risks. It’s essential to note that while it’s generally safe to use rusty water for bathing and cleaning, drinking rusty tap water is another matter entirely.

Why Is My Water Rusty


Rust particles in your water supply are more than just a cosmetic issue. They can carry other contaminants, such as lead, especially in older homes with lead pipes. This is a significant concern, as exposure to lead, even in small amounts, can harm health, particularly in children.

How to Detect Rusty Water

When monitoring your home’s water supply for rust, there are several key indicators to watch out for:

  • Colour Shift: One of the most evident signs is a distinct change in your water’s colour. If you turn on your hot water tap instead of clear water, you see brown tap water. This could be a sign of rust. The water might vary from pale yellow to dark, almost muddy brown. This discolouration is typically due to iron oxide or rust present in your water pipes.

Water With Rust

  • Altered Taste: Another symptom of potential rust in your water supply can be identified through taste. If your drinking water tastes metallic, rust particles may have infiltrated your water. This could affect the taste of your drinking water and any food or beverages prepared with it.
  • Pipe Blockages: Rust from your water pipes can lead to pipe blockages, which might indicate a decrease in your water pressure.

If you notice any of these signs, it’s essential to take prompt action to address the issue and ensure the safety and cleanliness of your water supply.

Solving Rusty Water Issues

To fix the rusty water problem, you first need to figure out where the rust is coming from. Here’s a simple way to do this: turn on an outside tap, like a garden hose, and let the cold water run for a while. If the water is clear after a few hours, the rust will come from inside your house, like your hot water taps or pipes. But if the water is still brown, the rust might come from your water supplier.

Flushing the Pipes

A practical method for eliminating rust from your water is through pipe flushing. This can be accomplished by turning on all the hot water taps in your home and allowing the water to run for a period of time. Not only does this process clear out the rust, but it can also aid in removing any blockages in your pipes, promoting better water flow.

Regular flushing of your pipes helps prevent the accumulation of sediments that could cause rusting in the future. Maintaining a routine of consistent flushing can help safeguard your water supply against recurring issues with rust and blockages, ensuring a safer, cleaner water supply for your home.

Cleaning or Replacing the Water Heater

If rust primarily appears when you use hot water, it’s likely that your water heater is the culprit. The tank can accumulate sediment over time, which can subsequently lead to rust. Regular flushing of your water heater can mitigate this problem, helping to remove sediment and maintain the quality of your hot water supply.

Rusty Water

However, remember that water heaters, like any appliance, have a finite lifespan. Replacing your water heater may be the most effective solution if it is old and heavily rusted. Modern water heaters are more energy-efficient and designed to prevent rust and sediment build-up, providing a more reliable and cleaner hot water supply. Always consult a professional to determine whether a repair or replacement is the best option for your situation.

When to Call a Professional

While simple issues like minor pipe rust can often be solved at home, more serious problems like water leaks or a sudden influx of rusty water may require the help of an experienced plumber. Plumbing and water services are equipped to handle these situations and can conduct further investigations to ensure your water supply is safe.

Need Help with Rusty Pipes? Take Action Today

Dealing with rusty-coloured water in your home is more than just a nuisance—it can also pose potential health risks. While some minor issues might be manageable with a little DIY, severe problems related to rusted pipes often require the expertise of professional residential plumbing services.

Proactively maintaining your home’s plumbing can ensure you enjoy clean, rust-free drinking tap water. If you’re located in the Gold Coast area and are still determining the source of rust in your water or how to address issues with rusted pipes, it’s wise to leave things to chance.

Water quality is crucial for your health and well-being, and our Gold Coast Plumbing Company team is ready to help. Don’t hesitate to contact us today for professional assistance, ensuring you and your family can enjoy clear, safe drinking tap water.